Brexit, yay or nay?

I’m voting REMAIN.

…because I appreciate the equality laws the EU force us to have

…because I also appreciate paid maternity and paternity leave

…and a maximum 48 hour week

…and holiday entitlement

…and pension entitlement

…and equal rights for part time workers

…and consumer protection law

…because I like to travel without the hassle and cost of Visas

…and I appreciate the sustainability rules put in place to reduce climate change effects, including Europe 202020

…along with recycling and restrictions on chucking our shit in the landfill

…because I like to be able to send students to other EU countries to enhance their studies

…paid for by the EU

…along with lots of other things such as a slice of the Dundee Waterfront Redevelopment costs

…and Liverpools redevelopment all those years ago

…because I understand how the EU works and that the decision makers are elected

…and I also understand that we have many decision makers in the UK that are unelected

…because I also know that Britain was built off the back of immigration

…and colonial control but we tend to ignore that part of our history

…and you know what, I like immigrants. They put back far more into the economy than they take

…and they can’t come over to the UK and claim immediate benefits

…and they tend to be less aggressive

…and they aren’t the ones you see pissed on a Saturday night in our cities

…actually, I’m more scared of those who are scared of immigrants, then I am of immigrants

…I’m also scared of right wing racists

…because I understand that if we leave and want to have access to the single market, we will STILL have to pay in and allow freedom of movement but we won’t be able to make changes. Just like Norway and Switzerland

…and that is a bloody ludicrous situation to be in. Same as before but with no say?

…because if the thought of the UK being outside the EU was scary before, it is even worse when you think that Boris, Gove and IDS could be in charge


…because I haven’t seen a single cohesive argument why we would be better leaving

…and by coherent, I mean one that isn’t backed with nonsense

…because the thought of TTIP seriously scares me and as our own Government are keen on it, I believe only our EU partners can halt it now (go France!)

…because I love our NHS and don’t want to see it privatised

…likewise our education system

…because as we have already lost our energy, transport and telecoms publically owned organisations which were sold by the Tories to line the pockets of themselves and their buddies

…because if the vote is Leave, on Friday the pound will plummet and the economy will go into shock

…which is likely to lead to even most ‘austerity’

…apart from those who can benefit from such events, like financial speculators

…because I can never agree with what the Daily Mail and Sun tell me to do

…because the problems we face in this country are down to our bad government decisions and NOT due to immigration or the EU/EC

…because it doesn’t cost us £350,000,000 every week

…because 75,000,000 Turkish people will not be able to arrive on our shores shortly

…because I want to see the faces on all the racist, Britain First pricks on Friday morning when they have lost

…because I don’t want to see the smug faces on all the racist, Britain First pricks on Friday morning if they win

…because mine is one of the 3,100,000 British jobs linked to UK exports to the EU

…because I work with lots of Europeans and I count them all as my friends

and most importantly,

…because my daughters future is much more important than mine

Best and Worst

This all happened 18 years ago today (15th January 1998) and given the significance of this day, I thought it worthwhile posting…



I’m not sure many people can state that the best and worst day of their lives happened at the same time, but January 15th 1998 definitely ticks both boxes for me. Like most days, it started by being yanked from sleep by the abrupt and completely unnatural beep of the alarm. Like most days, it continued with a desperate scramble for the snooze button before wearily pulling my bones out of the warm and snuggly duvet and out into the cold world of our bedroom on a bright January morning.

After the usual ablutions, a quick breakfast was taken before kissing my pregnant wife goodbye and getting into the car. It had been a frosty night and with my old Ford Granada neither having a heated windscreen nor a well performing thermostat, I enjoyed five minutes shivering inside a bright white world whilst the engine warmed up and pushed much needed hot air around to defrost the view onto the morning. Being the lazy sort of guy, I prefer shivering to the ritual of spraying de-icer onto the screen or using a credit card to scrape the night’s frost away. Up to temperature and with the ability to see the road ahead, the old girl got placed into ‘Drive’ and away we went.

In keeping with how routine the day was, the local commercial radio station spewed its usual nonsense through the stereo. Someone had obviously decided that the best content for the morning commute is to listen to the same five songs over and over, interspersed with the jolly traffic person rambling on about how many queues you had to look forward to. Mind you, if this was the sole basis of morning commercial radio it wouldn’t be so bad but alas every five minutes the preserve of failed composers and songwriters reared its ugly head with the local radio ads. It shows how bad you are if in your creative life you are resorting to rhyming ‘bed’ and ‘shed’ for a local DIY store; but at least the last ten seconds writes itself – the singing of the phone number. Twice.

This was a time before iTunes, Spotify and other marvellous musical magic and we were pretty much stuck with what was thrown at us through the radio. How we coped listening to such drivel still astounds but it made me realise that my job was a lot cooler than many others in media and entertainment – I was a Producer at Sony; the games division.

I walked into the large glass building after parking and said my usual hello to Bill the security guard. Now I’m not entirely sure how much security Bill provided; he was a lovely chap but spent most of his time spreading the company gossip around and having earned his free bus pass at least a decade earlier, he neither provided a visual deterrent nor seemingly had the ability to chase anyone. Entering our studio I was again the first person in so made the usual gallon of tea in my oversized Sports Direct mug and sat down to read through email and open the newspaper.

It was a routine morning for the team and myself containing the usual arguments between the creatives and the engineers. During a self-appraisal I described the job (and still do for that matter) as herding cats, and that day I was on top form in convincing both feline sides to point in the right direction.


And then the phone rang.


Nothing really new in this. My phone rang a fair bit usually passing on a message asking if I was heading outside for a cigarette. Whilst I was needing a nicotine fix, this time it was Sarah my wife who whilst she did tend to call regularly, she never really called me whilst upset.

‘Lol, you really need to come home’, I heard as her voice wavered. ‘There is something wrong. I’m at Fazakerley Hospital and they are saying something is wrong. I don’t understand them and your mum is on her way down. Can you come home?’, she replied when I asked her what was the matter.

There was something in her voice that I hadn’t become familiar with during our 3 years together which made me a little worried. After speaking to my manager (a rather useless chap who was new to the role and had spent his first month solely asking everyone which company car he should choose) who told me in no uncertain terms to get home, I jumped back in the car and managed to get to the hospital without scoring any points on my license.

Fortunately, Fazakerley Hospital had a sensible parking policy which didn’t involve having to run outside every 30 minutes to put another tenner in the meter, so I was inside pretty quickly and wandering around trying to find the signs for Maternity. After reaching the exit of the maze marked Maternity, I was informed by a rather brusque nurse that Obstetrics was where I needed to be and of course, due to the sadistic pleasures of hospital architects and planners, Obstetrics was in another building.

Eventually I conquered the hospital maze and found Sarah lying in a bed on a small ward along with my mum. I remember her scared face, her normally slightly pink cheeks were pale and her eyes red from crying. To be honest, as soon as I saw her I feared the worst and I felt my stomach plummet. My mum who must have read the thoughts on my face, quickly told me that the routine check had shown an issue and a scan had confirmed that our little baby who still had two more months to slowly bake in the maternal oven, had stopped growing. Before I had a chance to absorb this information and clench Sarah’s hand, a Doctor walked in. I’m pretty sure I did a comedy double-take as the chap was the doppelganger of Jim Dale who played the hapless Doctor in numerous Carry On films. He started talking but all I could see was this chap rolling down some stairs whilst lying on a trolley! Once my brain decided to reconnect with reality I caught what he was saying.

‘…so given baby seems very small for seven months, we are going to transfer Sarah to the Women’s Hospital where they can provide more specialist care for both.’

It is hard to explain how I felt at that point. As the period silently emerged from Dr Jim’s mouth at the end of that sentence, I knew everything had suddenly become very real. It wasn’t just our little bump that was in trouble, it was Sarah as well. Now we had only been together for three years and on our first date she jumped in a taxi with a guy that wasn’t me, but we were in love enough to move out of our parents for the first time, buy a house together and get pregnant within days of moving into our tiny shoebox. And now she was seriously ill. I didn’t actually find out until much later in the day that she had Lupus and it was likely the root cause of all the issues.

Within five minutes a porter had arrived and told us that he was taking Sarah to a waiting ambulance to take the ten mile journey along to the Women’s Hospital in the centre of town. I followed as best I could but even though the lights and siren weren’t on, other vehicles moved out of the way; a courtesy that wasn’t extended to the guy trying to follow in the old Ford Granada.

The Women’s Hospital was pretty new back in 1998 and was a properly designed hospital. Parking was easy and Obstetrics was just one floor from Maternity – unfortunately, this time Sarah had been taken to Maternity whereas I was looking for her in Obstetrics! I chuckled when I realised which looking back was a bit strange given the situation, although on further reflection when things have gone wrong in life I have tended to laugh rather than cry. Anyway, there she was in Obstetrics surrounded by lots of people in white coats and scrubs before the curtain went around her bed and I was shoved away. It seemed an age to be waiting without knowing anything and I started to get angry that I had been disconnected from the whole situation so efficiently (something that would reoccur during Sarah’s depression when an unpleasant female nurse automatically assumed I was the cause through abuse, but that chapter is not for now!)


‘Mr Scragg?’


‘Mr Scragg?’. I looked up, having been pulled away from my doom laden thoughts. The doctor had a marvellously confidence-inspiring cut glass English accent and cufflinks that looked like they were more valuable than our house. I nodded and attempted a smile as it was explained that they wanted to carry out an emergency caesarian but due to Bump’s small size, they needed to try stimulate the lungs with steroids which would take a few hours to take effect. I sat next to Sarah, took her hand in mine and we waited.

We waited for four hours with nobody telling us what was going on before something happened. We now have a good idea what a proper SWAT raid feels like for the recipients. Quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet. BOOM! The doors flew open and a blur of white and green raced through the door, surrounded us and within three seconds had Sarah wheeled out of the ward and down a corridor at Senna like speeds. I tried to keep up and was told that there was a theatre free and that time was of the essence. Suddenly an arm in front of me stretched across the corridor, nearly clothes-lining me with the message that I was to wait ‘…in there.’

I sat and watched the door close millimetre by millimetre. It really was the slowest closing door in the world and with a quick look around I realised that it guarded the entrance to the smallest and dullest waiting area ever. Although maybe dull is the wrong word to be honest, it was dull in a ‘nothing inside to do whilst waiting’ sort of way rather than a lack-of-colour way. Given how bright the white walls were, every delegate of the Rainbow Colour Conference was obviously present during the application. However apart from the white walls the room was empty bar two plastic seats seated opposite each other. Before my eyes had become accustomed to the brightness, the door opened again and Sarah was wheeled in on her bed.

Apparently she had been ‘prepped’ and would go into theatre shortly. She also mentioned that she would be under a general anaesthetic rather than a local so I wouldn’t be allowed in. More waiting followed as we both withdrew into our own thoughts; mine full of terror at the thought of possibly losing both my fiancée and my child – hers, well we have never really talked about it. Cutting through the silence was the feeling that everything was about to change.

Just as the door eventually closed from Sarah’s return, it reopened for the white and green blur of medical staff who wheeled Sarah out and into theatre. We held hands as long as possible before the two most loved things in my world disappeared between the double doors and all I could think about was whether I would see them again. A pretty blonde nurse took my arm and walked me up to another waiting room where I found both Sarah’s and my parents waiting. After bringing them up to speed on what was going on, my talent for waiting was tested again. It was disquieting as all five of us withdrew into our own thoughts and each and every noise outside was greeted with a straining of necks to see if it was news heading our way.

Time just ground to a halt until a commotion in the corridor led to us all seeing an incubator being rushed past before I was summoned outside. The emotional roller-coaster of that day has detuned my memory to the exact words spoken, but I recall being told I had a daughter who was extremely sick and that it would be a good idea if I were to see her now. I read between the lines and disliked the words so my mind decided to ignore them as I was guided down to the special care baby unit.

The room was small with six incubators inside, each of them surrounded by a setup of monitors that even with my level of geekdom, I would have been proud of. There she was. Bump, who had now become my daughter. My tiny daughter. Being born at seven months she was no bigger than my hand and looked lost in the large incubator. Tubes were running from all parts of her body to places I couldn’t see, but it was her skin that surprised me most – she was translucent. I had never understood why everyone said that babies were beautiful and had held my tongue on some occasions when presented with what was obviously an ugly specimen of human new-born, but I now understood why all parents feel their baby is amazing. Here was a bundle of see-through skin no bigger than my hand with dark hair all over her but she was my daughter. She may well have appeared in a Giger sketchbook but in my eyes she was beautiful – and she may die.

I looked at the doctor again and he must have read my confusion.

‘She is incredibly small and very sick. You should prepare yourself that she may not last the night…’ Those words were like being kicked over and over in the groin. I nodded my head in some semblance of understanding and looked at her. It was only now I remembered Sarah; she was okay and in recovery. The next hour is a bit of a blur as my brain must have been concentrating more on other issues than firing the correct synapses for memory retention, but at some point I headed back to let the parents know the news before sitting next to Sarah and waiting for her to wake.

Eventually I was told to go home. It was around one in the morning by now and I had neither eaten nor smoked in twelve hours. Sarah was still groggy from the anaesthetic and I wasn’t allowed to wait at the side of my daughter so it made sense to head home and get some sleep. I dropped my in-laws off in silence before heading back to our dark and very empty home. My thoughts were like trainers in a washing machine, tumbling around and banging off the sides as I tried to collate some sense into events. For some reason, I didn’t cry. I couldn’t cry. My daughter was likely to die at any time and yet my internal upset wasn’t translating into tears – I didn’t realise at the time but this trait would follow me around and give the impression I was a cold hearted ogre, but the tears just didn’t come. Instead I sat in the dark with a packet of cigarettes and my thoughts ricocheting off each other.

The last thing I recall on the best and worst day of my life was four chimes from the clock before I must have fallen asleep.

As I sit here recounting the events, I can look through from my untidy office towards the living room where a beautiful, kind and intelligent seventeen year old woman is sitting. Unfortunately the Registrar wouldn’t allow us to use the name Bump, therefore she ended up as Megan.


This whole TalkTalk issue got me thinking about passwords when a friend told me they still used something basic or they had to write it on a post-it note. After getting properly told off, I gave them a few tips to avoid using stupid easy passwords (like these).

Seriously, access to your online accounts can cause a WHOLE WORLD OF PAIN and unless you are happy to leave your wallet/purse with a list of your credit card PINs on the registration table at the National Association of Sticky Fingered Gits conference, then change them now!

I know it is difficult to remember them all, which is why I used a combination of Lastpass and 1Password to keep passwords under control, although Lastpass should do you. Choose a master password that is as long as possible and then use Lastpass to create and store specific passwords for each service you use. What this means is that if someone DOES get your details via a TalkTalk style hack, they won’t be able to use the same details to try and get into your PayPal, Facebook, eBay etc. accounts.

So how to come up with a long password that you can actually remember? Simple, think of a favourite song or phrase and use the first letters of each word. So using Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as an example would give us:


The song is easy to remember, but put those first letters together and you get ‘Ttls,hiwwya,uatwsh,ladits.’ Now add one a word or something that means something to you like your pets name and your birthday which could give you ‘Ttls,hiwwya,uatwsh,ladits.Tiddles01012015’

Chuck that in and it shows how secure this is, and after a few uses you will soon get used to typing it (with Lastpass, you only have to type it once per session).



Featured Image courtesy of Ned Potter via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons (CC by 2.0) license.

I love Zoe

In fact, I love her so much that I have spent a small fortune on her – with my wife’s permission!

I should mention that Zoe isn’t a result of my second mid-life crisis and human, but is a lump of metal with four wheel and no internal combustion engine. She is electric.

After learning a bit about renewables and sustainable transport via some of the projects I am currently working on, I took a look to try and replaced the hated Kia and found it to be ridiculously cheap. Renault contribute £5k as do the government meaning I get a brand new car with negligible fuel costs for £160 per month – cheaper than the Kia. Sure the range is only 60-100 miles, but that is more than enough for my 40 mile commute and the college now has charging points.

So in addition to the reduced costs, I can climb into my ivory tower and take the moral high ground the next time a 4×4 or Volkswagen driver tuts as they walk past me when I’m smoking in the street 🙂

Order times are long though so I won’t get the chance to enjoy a ride with Zoe until the new year so I’ll continue polluting in the meantime.

Games no more…

So after close to 21 years, I have a job that isn’t part of the games industry. And I feel great!

Sure, a career change after so many years has been a proper culture shock but the removal of the stress of running your own company has improved my life no end. The culture shock was enhanced due to moving from self employment in the games industry to employment in the public sector – educations specifically. No longer do things ‘just get done’ but the positive is knowing that I am making a small change to peoples lives for the better. 

When I say education, this doesn’t mean that I have swapped the sheep herding of games project management for the sheep herding of teaching, but I am now International Project Lead at the local college. It’s a fascinating position involving leading the EU funded projects that the college takes part in – and recently I have now been given the college Incubation space to look after which is right up my street. Some great small businesses are already up and running in there and hopefully I can provide a bit of help to make them a success.

So all change although I still have a fair bit of travelling so no doubt I’ll still be complaining about airlines and dodgy overseas hotels although the days of travelling transatlantic in business class are long over.

The Moon God

Another short written for OU last year. Due to time constaints this wasn’t edited too much from the original blast of words so still needs a lot of editing and redrafting but thought I may as well post in it’s original word-dump…



Being stationed on the Moon, she always thought she had the best office view in the world – that is, until her usual 05:30 alarm woke her and she found the stars had gone.

Eyes wide, she stared out of the window; the entire sky was black. Earth was still there, shining bright over the horizon although she didn’t think it held it’s normal beauty maybe due to it being surrounded by total blackness.

Breathing heavily as she ran from the living area of the complex through to the control area, she pushed the communications button to get in touch with her colleagues down below on the surface. Silence, not even the usual static. No response. Everything seemed to be operational, her screens glowed with data but looking closer her heart went cold and knees started to buckle.

The large Helvetica counter on one monitor read 0.


Her task as Resource Guardian was to monitor life on the planet below and ensure each nation was compliant with the Population Agreement of 2230, her simple mission to ensure that forced euthanasia was taking place to keep the global population under 500 million and allow the diminishing natural resources to last until the Replenishment Plan was fully activated. The dark side of her mission was her power to force euthanasia by a simple command, a power she had never had to use. The public on the planet below referred to her as the Moon God.

The counter provided an accurate population number and that population was zero.

Tracing through the recent logs, she noticed that whilst she was asleep at 02:35 the population dropped within a minute to 437 million before gradually dropping to zero over the next 90 minutes.

It didn’t look like an error. It looked like she was the last person in the world alive.

Quickly, she found the old-fashioned paper guidelines for use in an emergency. Unused to the feel of paper she struggled to turn the pages over without them sticking together before remembering an old movie she once watched where the mass murderer had licked his fingers to fix the same issue – it worked. As she expected, there was no page detailed the procedure for when the counter reached zero nor was there a procedure for being the last person alive.

She remained calm. She didn’t have anyone down on the planet to mourn, her family had long since travelled to the shadows. She had no friends, in fact she had only ever had one friend until she betrayed her confidence – after that she trusted no one and consigned herself to a life alone. It didn’t upset her though, her analytical mind and lack of emotional baggage had served her well through her career. Starting off in research, she had soon risen through the ranks of the Earth Space Agency until becoming the youngest Director in its history. With her emotionless personality and her psychological expertise she was an obvious choice to take the role of Resource Guardian when the role became available.

Nearly eighteen months into the job she could carry out her tasks running on auto-pilot, whilst using the many other hours she had available to expand her knowledge through constant reading. This was her next move as she started to trawl through the world network to try find out anything she could. All seemed normal with the usual stream of zero-G selfies, hoverboard crashcams and porn until 02:35 when she started to find messages expressing horror in all six remaining languages of the world. Each message carried little detail but the majority of them referred to ‘the shadows’; nothing else.

Trying the radio again brought the same silent result. Deciding to head over to the engineering module to check the diagnostics were correct, she picked up her Omnikit and ran through the tunnel to the other side of the complex. Normally, she enjoyed this short trip as the tunnel had been constructed of a transparent material giving her an amazing view of the dusty grey lunar landscape outside, but at this time her stomach was doing somersaults, something she had rarely felt before and definitely didn’t like.

All the diagnostics she ran on the complex systems passed with no issues. Her stomach churned even more as she started to believe that she really could be the last human alive. It didn’t make sense to her though, her logical mind couldn’t comprehend how or why? Heading back to the command module she stopped in the connecting tunnel to look and collect her thoughts. Confused and needing to find out what was happening, she gazed outside and noticed the light was fading. This shouldn’t have been possible as the sun rose less than four days ago so there were still many days left of this lunar day. Sunset was also pretty rapid, far quicker than down on Earth so there was little time for the light to fade but fading it was – and then blackness.

It was only as all light departed leaving her in complete and total darkness that she started to panic. Hands shaking she tentatively reached out to find her way back to the command module. The darkness was clinging and oppressive, unlike anything she had ever experienced and she felt a wave of coldness race through her. Becoming disorientated in the total darkness and with panic starting to overwhelm her, she collapsed to the floor with chest heaving whilst struggling to breathe.

Her mind raced – if the lights were off, then the power was down and the backup generators not running which meant she had no oxygen being recirculated. Her breathing become more laboured as she struggled but as her mental senses began to return to her, she realised that even with no new oxygen, the complex had a few days of air due to its size. Her breathing began returning to normal and as she was about to return to her feet to try and find her bearings, the dim emergency lighting powered up temporarily blinding her as her eyes got used again to vision.

The engineering module was unusually quiet when she arrived. The emergency generators were outside, but to preserve power all but essential services were turned off when they were in use so the usual hum and glow was absent. She did notice that the current power input from the kilometres of solar cells installed to keep the system operating was zero. Again she couldn’t comprehend this as the console showed connectivity to the array, but no power. Strength returning, she raced to the nearest observation panel – the only way there was no power was if the sun had set which would have meant she had lost nearly three weeks somewhere. Eyes wide, she stared out of the observation panel with hands against the cold graphene walls and her face pressed against the transparent window, she couldn’t see the sun – there was no light outside at all.

It was at this point that the meltdown started. She started to feel her head bang like never before. Along with the headache her extremities started to tingle and she started to find difficulty in focusing her mind. She suddenly realised that she was sitting on the floor, tucked into a corner with tears in her eyes.

Her mind was drifting, floating around her life. At first she experienced terror at being the last person alive before her subconscious reconnected with her logical mind and she realized it wouldn’t actually be that bad. She had always been alone, tormented by colleagues who kept trying to befriend her and inviting her into their networks. It had never interested her, friends only added a layer of stress and responsibility that conflicted with her career and constant need for learning. She preferred to be alone; she craved the solitude and only ever wanted her own company as this was the only company that understood her. As her mind processed these thoughts a big smile appeared on her face; her first smile in many years.

She was calm during her return to the main module. Passing through the kitchen and stores she grabbed a few supplies before locking the door and taking a breath. Her thirst for knowledge was still looking for an answer; an explanation. Sitting on the upright chair she again started searching through the recent logs to satisfy her needs. Hours passed as she engrossed herself but still she was no closer to an understanding. Something happened at 02:35 but nobody had actually said WHAT it actually was. Frustrated, she threw her graphite cup to the floor watching it shatter into many pieces.

Feeling weary both in mind and body she lay down in her cot to rest. As she lay, she continue to think about the solitude. As sleep took over, her final thought was of happiness – being the last human alive was an honour, even if she didn’t really like the rest of humanity. As she slept, again she smiled.

She woke with a start. One of those awakenings where the whole body seems to defy gravity and jump up. Her eyes caught the clock showing 01:47 as she noticed that there was again light outside. Jumping up so quickly that she felt a little faint, she noticed out of the small window that there were stars. Heart again pounding, she ran through the corridors noticing on the way that full power had been restored. Arriving at the control module she could see sun, stars and the earth peering over the horizon. There was crackling music coming from the communications panel and a voice telling her to ‘answer the damn radio’. Completely confused, she looked at the counter.


With a blank look on her face the pushed the comms button and her words stumbled out.

‘Yeah. Er, I’m here.’

‘Get your lazy butt out of that cot and give me your report’

She sighed, a long sigh of disappointment. No longer the last human alive. No longer truly alone. No longer special, she felt empty. With no idea what had happened she noticed the sharp debris on the floor where she had smashed her cup – her mind processed that everything DID happen, it wasn’t just a strange dream.

Being a professional, she dropped back into her normal role routine instantly but her smile was gone. Loneliness overcame her being as the lives of half a billion people returned to her world.

Her life returned to normality. She checked the counter and she read, repeated day after day but her mind constantly returned to the memory of bliss she had experienced towards the end of her episode. The more she thought about it, the emptier she felt and the emptier she felt, the more she longed for that feeling again. She never once smiled. Eleven days later she made the decision.

Knowing exactly how to free herself from the emptiness, sadness and heavy oppression she felt, she walked calmly to the command module and started flicking switches and entering commands at the terminal. The number 500,000,000 appeared on screen. Running her finger slowly down the screen the number reduced.


She slowly continued, eyes fixed to the number getting smaller and smaller.


Voices screamed over the communications channel before gradually fading.





The clock showed 04:05. The counter showed zero.


Ella smiled. Happy. She was special again. She truly was the last human alive.


Featured image © Bill Young via Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0 license


Quick one written for my OU course last year. I thought it was pretty crap but my tutor seemed to like it 🙂

Heads bowed
praying to the god of Apple,
Oblivious to the world passing by,
Interested only by the trending topics,
Consumed by the never ending supply
of Likes and Updates,
Instagrams and Vine,
Communication sans vowels,
acronyms combine.
Quadragenarians shrug
WTF eh?

Image © byronv2 via Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license


One of the poems I wrote as part of my OU studies. Apparently its a pantoum, hence the repetition 🙂

Fingertips blue, ears bright red
Why are we here, not home instead?
Cold, salty air assaulting the lips
North Sea sprays over as it rises and dips.

Really. Why are we here, not home instead?
Yell the six hundred cheering the boys in dark red
The North Sea crashing over, the small pointless stand
Salvation appears, to warm up the hands.

The six hundred idiots screaming abuse
Showering the ref with jeers and boos
Salvation is here, fingers starting to flex
Warm pie and a bovril, better than sex.

Showering the ref, abusing with flair
Dribble, cross, Goal! Cheers fill the air
Better than sex, but don’t tell the wife
Footie on Saturday, our reason for life.

Dribble, cross, Goal, all part of the fun
The Cold, salty air, its damage now done
Footie on Saturday, to Gayfield we fled
With fingertips blue and our ears a bright red.


Open University – Creative Writing

those of you who actually know me, like in real life person stuff, will know that I started my Open University degree in 1994! Yep, seriously!

Anyway, last year I got a message saying I only had a few more years to finish it off so this year I am studying a Creative Writing course. The first part was fine although I did get confused with omnipresence, limited omnipresence and other bits and bobs but the true confusion has arrived with Part 2 – poetry.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of poetry (all I can recall is the first few lines to a Betjeman poem I had to study at school; ‘Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, it isn’t fit to graze a cow’ or something similar) and I have always been useless writing it so this is a proper struggle. Fortunately it seems that poetry no longer has to rhyme (sort of in the same way that modern art doesn’t need to be artistic) which makes like so much easier for me.

So from now on in, I can pretty much
write as I see fit,
with no requirement
for lines to rhyme
as long as I alliterate
and observe rhythm
which this collection of words

Anyway, I hate people reading what I write but that is pretty pointless I guess so I’ll post some of my pieces up here for you to ignore.

Mind you, I have recently had an article published in a journal no less. The official bibliographic details are

Scragg, L. (2014) ‘Everyone is a games developer’ The Computer Games
Journal 3(2b) (Special Edition – ‘What is missing from games?’), pp.203 –

which I think is pretty cool!

Anyway, back to self-assessment….



I know I am a bit of a travel snob. I hate flying economy, I never go on buses and I try and avoid using the train wherever possible. I know I am contributing to climate change with my obsession with driving myself wherever I go but at least in my car I am (mostly) in control of my own environment.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting the train from Arbroath to Glasgow. Now normally this journey is okay albeit pretty crowded as I try and sleep on the journey (due to the 06:00 early start). Unfortunately yesterday I ended up sitting next to the most annoying person I have ever sat next to on a plane.

First she wanted me to put her heavy luggage overhead for her. Now I have no problem with this and am normally glad to help but I didn’t even get a thank you for doing it. After she eventually got into the window seat and I sat down, she proceeded to elbow me whilst she turned into Mr Tickle whilst trying to take her coat off.

Bruised and slightly annoyed, I put my headphones back in and heard her booming voice above Atom Heart Mother at full blast. She was telling me that I was sitting in her colleagues seat and that I would have to move when he got on in Perth. I had my ticket on the table and took a quick glance in case I was in the wrong seat – I wasn’t. It took a good 30 seconds to explain to her that both my seat reservation and the ticket above the seat said that this was the seat I had reserved and not her colleague. She then got grumpy and turned away when I was in mid conversation.

By this time I was getting pissed off. Then it got worse. Much worse.

She suddenly realised the knew the person sitting behind and turned around to talk to her. Her big loud fucking mouth was inches away from my ear whilst she spent 15 minutes talking to this person whom she obviously used to work with, about all the gossip in her shitty little life and her shitty little job.

In hindsight, I should have told her in no uncertain terms that NO FUCKER IS INTERESTED NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP, but I was still in polite mode and she hadn’t yet clicked my FUCKING RAGING button. After hearing all about how Gail from the Admin department was a bit of a slag, and how Adam should have been fired three times now for what he did (she never said what he did but I think it could have been telling her to shut the fuck up), I gave up on listening to music and tried to zone out – her decibel laden mouth had drowned out even my worse music.

At Perth, her ex-colleague got off as did the guy sitting opposite her across the table. She nudged me, or rather she digged me in the ribs just as I was relaxing with my eyes shut. “You were right. He is sitting in that seat”, she said and I managed to give me my most sarcastic “Fantastic” in reply. She knew I was pissed off.

…and then it came. Her colleague sat down and what happened next had me (and the person sitting opposite me who also had to hear about Gail and slut and Adam the fucking hero) staring at her incredulously. Her first words to her colleague were “You’ll never guess who I have just been speaking to…?”. This WASN’T a rhetorical question for her, her colleague really did have to guess. After an age where I was dreaming of lobotomisation, she piped up with “She didn’t speak to me in ages after what happened. I’d cross the street to get away from her but she was speaking to me nice as pie”.


She seriously destroyed my hearing talking to someone whom she didn’t like? No only was she a gossiping annoying megaphone mouthed pain in the fucking arse, but she was a two faced hypocrite as well.

I gave up at that point and accepted my fate. Another hour of her massive fucking gob spewing high decibel bollocks about fuck knows to her colleague. It is him I feel sorry for as it looked like they were on a work awayday/stayover so whilst I managed to stop the ringing in my ears an hour or so after getting off the train, he is probably still getting it even now.

Sorry pal….
and that is why I try and avoid public transport…